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Anthony Hamilton on Lewis ‘having his own space’, as Button questions Mercedes move
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Lewis Hamilton, Anthony Hamilton - XPB
Posted By: James Allen  |  20 Nov 2012   |  1:01 pm GMT  |  171 comments

Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony, has given a revealing insight into how his relationship with his son has evolved over the last couple of years and why the move to Mercedes is another example of him flying the nest.

Hamilton Snr’s presence in McLaren’s post-race celebrations of Hamilton’s brilliant victory in Austin pointed towards father and son having firmly been reconciled this year after a period in which their relationship, publicly at least, has appeared more distant.

The pair had been famously more akin to a double act as Lewis came through the motorsport ranks and into his record-breaking early years of F1. However, that started to change in early 2010 when the McLaren driver decided to stop having his career managed by his father before eventually appointing XIX to look after his affairs.

Appearing on the BBC Radio 5 Live Chequered Flag Podcast (click here to listen) amid McLaren’s celebrations of his son’s victory on Sunday, Anthony acknowledged that Lewis had felt a desire to “have his own space”, implying that the 27-year-old had belatedly experienced his teenage “tantrum years”.

“To be honest it hasn’t been so much (me) not being part of the set-up, it’s been Lewis having his own space, us having our own space, and Lewis is now going to have his own space next year. It’s what kids do isn’t it?” Hamilton Snr said.

“The unfortunate thing for young racing drivers is that they don’t have the opportunity to go through the tantrum years. I’ve been fortunate – actually maybe I’ve been unfortunate, I’m not so sure! – none of my kids went through the terrible teens. When you’re a racing driver, or a kart racer or a single-seater racer you don’t have time to go off the rails, you’ve got to stay on the rails.

“So it’s been interesting. But the family are great as we always have been and we have all found our feet in life if you want.”

The comments from Hamilton – who described Sunday as “Lewis’s greatest ever race” – regarding the Mercedes move come at a time when fresh questions over its logic are being raised given the Brackley team’s current travails.

While Hamilton was beating Sebastian Vettel to his fourth win of the season on Sunday, his new employer was faring far worse with Michael Schumacher enduring what he bluntly described as a “disaster” as he slipped from fifth on the grid to 16th at the chequered flag having had to make two pit stops due to high rear tyre wear.

Ironically, since Hamilton’s move 2013 to the team was announced in the week before the Japanese GP Mercedes has failed to score a single point in five races.

Perhaps with that statistic in mind, his current team-mate, Jenson Button, continues to assert that Hamilton is making an error in leaving McLaren.

Asked in the same podcast if Hamilton’s victory had been good for the team as a whole, Button replied: “Especially for him. He’s leaving us – I still think it’s the wrong decision, but it’s his own.”

He added: “It’s always great having a very quick team-mate like Lewis. He pushes you hard and we’ve had some good battles over the last three years. But things change, you move on, and I’m excited about working with Checo.”

Hamilton’s move to Mercedes is one of the many big stories of the season covered in the 2012 JA on F1 yearbook – “The Year of Living Dangerously”. Pre-order your signed copy here ahead of its release on December 7.

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171 Comments
  1. Irish con says:

    I still don’t think jenson can’t believe his luck that Lewis is leaving. And I hope Hamilton isn’t wasted in a dog next year like Fernando was in 09. The best drivers should be in the best cars.

    1. Peter says:

      By what right?

      In the long view, career strategy is as important as race strategy. Making sure you’re in the right car is as important as making sure you’re on the right tyre. The ‘best’ driver isn’t entitled to the win, after all.

      It’s not as glamorous as being able to take Eu Rouge flat, but it’s an important driver skill nonetheless.

    2. Irving Isler says:

      I think it’s funny since many of us questioned Jenson’s motives when he moved saying some of the exact same things (ie. “bad decision”) in part because Lewis is often much more able to extract the maximum out of a car that doesn’t exactly suit him and that reflects itself in some of the best raw speed.

      Personally, I thought it was a big mistake moving (Jenson again) but it turned out to be a really smart decision for the long run, even if some of the value in his position now lies in the fact that Lewis is leaving.

      I still find watching Lewis exciting when the off-track shennanigans are put aside.

      Then there’s the hope Mercedes are pulling another Honda/Brawn GP. The year previous to Brawn GP’s successful driver WC, their Honda car wasn’t much to speak of. So there is always hope that the team has a few tricks up their sleeve and simply stopped developing to prepare a better car for Lewis’ arrival.

      1. ccweblog says:

        Even if they do have a few tricks up their sleeve I still don’t like the move for Lewis. Look at the Double DRS ‘trick’ this year. A lot of exciting pre-season hype about what they might be able to do with it but in the end the car is still a dog..

    3. Wayne says:

      Maybe since signing HAM Merc have been plowing all their resources into next year’s car? Seems logical thing to do doesn’t it?

      1. dxs says:

        maybe merc is focusing on the 2014 car. And the 2013 will be a dud too.

        Being an engine manufacturer, they will have the most information about the radical new engine early, and could develop design philosophies in the 2013 to suit the new engine, and just have hami give input and get comfortable with the team during that season.

        Basically write the season off and use it as a test bed for 2014 where they could potentially dominate.

      2. Brendan says:

        It does appear that way. Since the announcement of his arrival it seems that Mercedes have gone backwards, or at least stood still, which amounts to the same thing.

        However, I doubt that Merc will get a huge head start next year as they (Brawn) did in ’09. Ferrari and McLaren were pushing all the way to the end of the ’08 season (as are RB, Ferrari and to some extent McLaren this year) the rules are not going through such a drastic upheaval so the opportunity to ‘tear up the rulebook’ isn’t so great.

        That said, I do hope they can produce a car that at least allows him to fight at the sharp end of the grid. Schumi’s woes this year have been frankly un-acceptable for a team with Merc’s resources and I expect Ross and the team to be under huge pressure to deliver.

      3. Cliff says:

        If they produce a good car then it will indeed be a logical decision. However you can’t ignore the lost points and prize money they’ve sacrificed! I can’t believe that scoring no points since Japan was part of the plan! And what about the brand?, Mercedes AMG need some positive media coverage. Geoff Willis, Bob Bell, Aldo Costa and Ross Brawn plus possibly the best engine in F1 should have been enough to build a more competitive car, even if it couldn’t win on a regular basis.

      4. Jure says:

        The real problem is the TEAM Mercedes is not used to pushing. McLaren, Ferrari, RedBull all push year round year after year. Even if Mercedes gets a great idea without year long push it only lasts 3-4 races. Season has 20 races, how can they hope to win the title that way?

  2. AdrianP says:

    Great drive from Lewis…

    …but then he goes and spoils it with inane comments like ‘I think I stamped my mark on the sport and showed I have the status that the others do. Even though I am not competing for first or second in the Championship I still hold that drive. I just beat the supposed best.’.

    How fragile is his ego? You won a race, Lewis. Get over yourself… !

    1. Mary says:

      He is right though, so what is the problem.
      The media and everyone else is agree it was an amazing drive and win, so why can’t he say it too?

      1. Erik says:

        The problem is while Lewis is indeed great, unfortunately he feels the urge to point that out to everyone. I’m so great, look at me, blah blah. This is the problem people who don’t like Hamilton have with him. Leave the praise to the critics and observers, you don’t need to buy tickets to your own show every time.

        He drove amazingly, hats off to him. If he’d adjust his attitude he would have heaps more fans.

      2. Doohan says:

        It’s a bit Ali. I personally like it.

      3. Morten says:

        Ah well, one has to consider his young age. Those of us in the forties are quick to recognize that he’s a kid and wants to boast about his capabilities, as kids will do. We shrug it off and don’t mind as much and think of him as a very fine race driver just as well. Sebastian Vettel would undoubtedly have boasted the same, had he been in that similar position.

      4. Michael says:

        @ Erik I live in America so I have no idea what u are talking about. I don’t see what u see. Every interview I have seen with Hamilton He comes across as a straight shooter. I don’t see the attitude & arrogance you’re talking about. Maybe, u just don’t like him.

    2. MookF1 says:

      You summed this up really well. I am a Button fan before Hamilton even though I know that over one lap Hamilton destroys him and while its a lot closer in race pace Hamilton is something special and I would love to support them equally. The reason I prefer Button though is because of Hamiltons attitude, I just don’t like what he says. Worse than the comments you mention were his comments about wanting it more than Vettel??!!! Are you shitting me Hamilton, Vettel is going for the championship but you wanted the win more, we all heard Vettel embarrass himself on the team radio by showing how much he wanted it. Just do not get that statement other than to appear macho maybe for marketing reasons as its really disrespectful to Vettel. I hope that he finds whatever it is he is looking for and he learns some humility at mercedes and it isn’t just a massive waste of probably the most talented racer of his generation.

      1. Tripletg says:

        I think what Hamilton meant was that he had nothing to lose, vettel on the other hand did not have to win the race to be champion since all so was running in third place.

      2. trullifan says:

        Hamilton is as fast like Alonso and Vettel, but he isn’t as smart as the other two. That’s why they are double Champions but he is not.

      3. Glen says:

        Spot on.

        A great talent, but needs to learn humility and to think about the overall race more like button and Alonso.

      4. For sure says:

        I agree which is ashamed.
        People talk about “if Lewis was driving that RedBull”, but we have seen him drive a car as good. He messed up more often.
        If Seb was driving that Mclaren in 07 and 08, he would have easily walked away with two titles. Not because he is faster, he just doesn’t press wrong buttons or take people out in the pit lane.

      5. Morten says:

        There _is_ also the matter of machinery and reliability to consider. It’s a team sport, isn’t it.

      6. Lofty says:

        I find your comments very intolerant, I class Lewis Hamilton as a Genius in a car and I have been a big fan of f1 for more than 45 yrs now. Senna was a Genius in a car but did not always say the right thing, same with Prost, these drivers don’t learn social skill when their young it’s later on in life that comes, I’ve heard a lot worse said by other drivers and not many pick up on it but when Lewis says something people are looking to what they can jump on him about, I just find it all very sad. If you where a true motor sports fan, you would be in ore of his driving skills and ignore some of the things he may say, he’s not a politician who says what you want hear, he’s a racing driver.

      7. Rich says:

        Spot on!

      8. KJ says:

        To add to that, can one always believe what is reported by some section of the media? They appear to deliberately manipulate what is said by drivers to sensationalise their articles, thus provoking a high volume of responses. Very often an article is titled in such a way so as to prompt people to read on, only to find that the article bears no resemblance to what is implied in the title

      9. Peruvian says:

        Any body who practices sport at a high level, should know, or should identify that moral is important, I think Hamilton humiliated Vettel in the last race, I think it is an important message to Vettel and Alonso, that Hamilton is a better racer than them… a psychological war if you prefer… It is very clear to me what Hamilton wanted to do, and he did with capitol letters.
        Another thing, James, doesn’t Vettel get a warning or penalty for changing 4 times his direction when Hamilton passed him?… I believe it was done to disturb the pass, and mess up the opponents’ concentration, and of course unnecessarily dangerous.

      10. colin grayson says:

        like lofty , I have been following F1 for many years , more than him in fact

        poker players say that you have to know when to hold them , and know when to fold them , and I think hamilton has now learned that this is true in F1 and has mentally accepted that you can’t win them all , sometimes you have to play the percentages

        I think that , given a reasonably competitive car to demonstrate it , he is going to become the best driver since jim clark

        in my view F1 is more competitive than ever before …offset by the fact that cars are now reliable ; bear in mind that the WDC has been won with only a single race win in the season , and also by a driver who only ever won 3 races …times change

      11. Alanis Morissette says:

        Jenson is *extremely* media savvy, and seemingly knows exactly what to say to appease the public who take his comments at face value. However, IMHO he is a politically ruthless individual (demonstrated by what happened with Williams/BAR) who is very adept at making sure that he’s the one the team support, by utilizing his social skills. I think that is a brilliant, brilliant ability to have – but it doesn’t make him a better driver. He’s a very good one who translates this measured personality onto the track.

        However, McLaren have made a complete cock up here in not stroking Lewis’ ego. His talent is worth it – they lost Kimi, they lost Alonso (though having Lewis there too made that an inevitability) and now they’ve lost him. They haven’t been capable of managing a driver personality who doesn’t fit with the teams stringent idea of ‘team player’ since Senna. Mika needed a lot of encouragement, but he didn’t have a big head.

    3. Chris says:

      A well deserved pat on the back I’d say. Not many drivers have been able to beat the RB drivers, especially when they run near the front.

      Lewis is rightly pointing out that although this season is a showdown between Vettel and Alonso, the picture would be entirely different had McLaren got their pit and strategy operations right and had a more reliable car. Lewis, like Alonso and Kimi, haven’t put a foot wrong this year.

    4. Dan says:

      I think you’ve misunderstood his reasons.

      Lewis has been immense this year and should have been walking the championship, but because of the teams poor strategy, pit stops and reliability he hasn’t.

      He is just saying it to those people that don’t fully understand F1 and are questioning his ability as too why he isn’t still in the hunt for the title.

    5. For sure says:

      I think he clearly doesn’t like the fact that Vettel is becoming the best so he tried to make a point by saying “supposed best”.
      But I think it’s going to hurt him even more when he moves to Mercedes.
      At the end of the day, it’s the results that count and he knows it.

    6. Sebsie says:

      @AdrianP,
      “but then he goes and spoils it with inane comments”
      You know – you don’t really have to listen to him or read what he says…

  3. KRB says:

    Mercedes has had an absolutely horrendous last run of races, although it’s not like others (aah-aah-Sauber!! cough, cough) haven’t as well.

    Mercedes have the most powerful engine, the tires next year should be easier to manage, no DDRS will be good for Mercedes. Anyone who says they know Mercedes will struggle next year is silly, as they simply cannot know that. The odds might be greater that they will struggle, vis-a-vis those of RBR, McLaren or Ferrari struggling next year. Enough for some “Internet Warriors” to spout that Mercedes are doomed, and if that prognostication doesn’t materialize, they’ll either go on sabbatical from these boards, or hope that no one paid attention enough to call them on it.

    1. KRB says:

      … and yes, interesting comments from Hamilton Sr. Dunno about calling that Lewis’ best race though.

      1. Peter says:

        How many times have they called Lewis` last win his best ever? Almost every time, I think.

    2. Gary Naylor says:

      Makes me wonder if Mercedes, knowing they have Lewis next year, have just dropped all development on the 2012 car and putting all their efforts on the 2013 model – just testing a few concepts now before the end of season lock down.

      From a PR perspective, would be a disaster if this move wasn’t a success, for everyone concerned.

    3. JF says:

      You are right, who knows. And in 2014 everything changes anyway. Merc is well placed, being one of the best engine suppliers, to make the most of the changeover.

    4. Dan says:

      I’m a Lewis fan, but I’m worried for him next year, there isn’t any major rule changes, so next years car will just be an evolution of this years car, which for Mercedes is rubbish.

      1. Jake says:

        Nobody including Hamilton expects the Merc to be chalenging for the title next year. The gap to the top teams is just too great.
        We have to get used to fighting in the middle of the pack with an occasional good result.
        Do not expect anything until 2014.

      2. hero_was_senna says:

        Almost trying to copy Alonso this year. He’s not had a front runner all season yet is performing miracles.

      3. Greg says:

        Earlier in the season the Merc was a decent car. They won a race with Nico and had the passive double DRS system first which Red Bull copied. I think Lewis will get more frustrated as the season goes on because they can’t seem to sustain the development required to win championships. When Brawn won the championship with Jenson, the last half of the year saw them come back to the field, and this year’s car seems to have gone backwards badly.

        Be interesting the see the team-mate battle, that will be a cracker

    5. For sure says:

      If there is one thing you can predict in F1 is that team. They are so consistent at going backwards. Nothing can stop them doing that, not even Ross Brawn, not unlimited budget.
      You could say never say never, but there is a higher chance of me getting massage from a Brazilian beach volleyball team then, them making a top car.

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        I’m trusting you mean the women’s volleyball team. That is of course if you are male!

      2. For sure says:

        Of course, of all the men in different sports, why would women particularly want massage from male’s volleyball team haha.

  4. JD says:

    I think Hamilton has looked at McLaren’s title record of 3 WDC’s and 1 WCC’s in the past 21 years, and realised that this is not as sucessful team as they make out.

    It’s clear Hamilton is after the kind of success that Vettel has had, and is having, and 3 or 4 wins a season is not what he’s after, and it irks him that Vettel statistically is way ahead of him now in win/poles/WDC’s.

    He appears to have decided to go somewhere else, where he has the chance of building a sucessful team, (we’ll see if that actually happens or not!) whilst doing far less PR and getting paid more, which equates to being valued more by the team.

    I believe he thinks it’s worth risking his 3 or 4 wins a season to try something else.

    1. GP says:

      This is where I fail to see Lewis’ logic. When he signed with Mercedes he said it was because he wanted to take a struggling team and make it a champion.

      As you state, McLaren hasn’t exactly been a championship winning team so why isn’t he staying there to make this struggling team a multiple champion?

      If he couldn’t do it at McLaren what makes him think he’s going to do it at Mercedes. According to Ron Dennis, the fact that he wants less team commitments doesn’t bode well for what’s needed at Mercedes.

      1. Alex says:

        I think the answer to your question about Lewis staying to make McLaren stronger is revealed in what Ron Dennis said on Sunday: especially the bit where he said that no driver is bigger than the team.

      2. Craig in Singapore says:

        Ron Dennis’s idea of team commitments for a driver is; dress in company apparel, turn up at venue x, tell everyone how good we are (don’t mention actual WDC/WCC stats), repeat tomorrow at venue y, ad infinitum. That sort of driver input only makes the car go faster in the minds of the gullible.

      3. Alanis Morissette says:

        Indeed Craig – which is why the higly political animal that is Jenson fits so well into the McLaren machine.

    2. Wayne says:

      Said it before and i’ll keep saying it: McLaren win races NOT championships. People remember championships, Drivers want to be remembered. No idea why people find this concept so hard to wrap their noggin around. Dennis has even stated thar race wins are his team’s priority, not championships.

      1. dodi says:

        I tend to agree to what you have been saying so far regarding the McLaren. As we all know, it has been for sometime Ron Dennis saying that at McLaren there is no one can (or allowed to) be bigger than the McLaren. I just think that drivers like Alonso and Hamilton have the potential to be bigger than the McLaren. That is why they have been deliberately allowed only to win races, not WDC. That’s obviously the way to keep McLaren bigger than the drivers. I have got no idea why Ron Dennis apply that philosophy or policy. It seems to me this philosophy is only applied recently, not many years ago. What do you think James?

  5. carl says:

    AH is right, it is time for his boy to move on and only time will tell if it’s the right move or not. One thing is for sure that Lewis will find any good points with the car and exploite it; he has always been a master of making a poor Mclaren go fast and achieve results way past its true potential.
    I think Ross B wants a young dynamic duo in the cars that can push the team forward…unfortunately I feel Nico has lost his hunger as he seems resolved that the car will be crap and seems already defeated before he starts the race, hopefully having LH with him will rekindle his true potential.

    One concern I do have is I can’t think of a main stream manufacturer ever doing well as a F1 constructor (Honda, Toyota, Renault, were all bad) except the big F but they are not that mainstream really. To many directors not enough racers in these teams….

    1. pm says:

      Didn’t Renault win 2 wdcs??

      1. hero_was_senna says:

        Yes, they did, but they were Benetton before Renault bought them. Before that they were Toleman.
        If you look at their history, they won Championships with two dynamite driving talents and (whether you respect him or not) Briatore running the show.
        Renault as a manufacturer has only ever won races, as an engine supplier, their tally is somewhat different.

      2. 6 Wheeled Tyrrell says:

        My recollection of the facts may be a little fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure that Alonso won 2 WDC’s at Renault long after the Benetton days.

    2. Miha Bevc says:

      Renault were not bad, it just didn’t last.

  6. Richardd says:

    I don’t get Button, when he was moving to McLaren, didn’t everyone say it was a wrong move, he of all people should know better

    1. AuraF1 says:

      I suppose button was moving to a better team for less money whilst Lewis is moving to a worse team for more money. It’s a bit different to jensons move.

      I think button also moved partly to test himself against Hamilton. I don’t think Lewis is really concerned about nico beating him.

      1. Craig in Singapore says:

        Rubbish, Button moved because he was offered a multi-year deal at McLaren while Ross offered him only a single year deal. He wanted the security.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        But he accepted less money so you’re point isn’t valid. We are comparing button to Lewis in terms of moves and why they see it differently.

        Lewis has been given the same security of contract term but more money so his experience is going to be very different and the decision process leading to it also very different. Hence why most people won’t compare buttons WDC move to mclaren to Hamilton a WDC move to buttons old team…

      3. Craig in Singapore says:

        I read somewhere that when they realised he might actually be leaving, McLaren made him an 11th hour offer which essentially matched the Mercedes offer, at least in money. If that’s true then he’s not getting enough more to make it an issue. I believe the reasons lie elsewhere.

    2. Sebee says:

      Yes, he should.

      Between the two of them Button knows exactly what he left behind.

    3. monktonnik says:

      I think it is fair to say that the criticism of Button’s decision was more that he would be destroyed by Lewis.

      I guess he could see the writing on the wall at Brackley and decided that Mclaren was a better long term prospect.

    4. Miha Bevc says:

      But he was moving to a better team. He probably knew Brawn was one-off, while McLaren is the 2nd biggest team in F1. It’s not so straight forward with Hamilton.

  7. Scott D says:

    I think Button’s comments can only be taken as a compliment to Lewis’ skills and the fact he will miss the challenge (one of the reasons he said he went to McLaren) rather than a real criticism of his move to Mercedes.

  8. Mike from Colombia says:

    Button has got what he wanted…to be No 1 in the team. But his ultimate level of speed will now be exposed. He is a fantastic No. 2 – perhaps too good a No.2 for most teams….however, he does not have the speed or the edge to be a No.1 in a top team.

    McLaren is hoping that it strikes lucky with the unknown quantity of Perez…who really has not particularly outshone Kobayashi.

    I read Ron Dennis’s interview this morning and it very much reads as putting on a brave face. McLaren was caught out and underestimated the other negotiating party. The snap reaction of signing Perez is now making it look careless.

    The team has got to change a little bit if they want to hold onto a driving genius. These types of drivers by nature are all primadonnas and undoubtedly will end up having clashes with the team. Even if he had stayed beyond 2007, Alonso undoubtedly would have left the team unhappily at some point. They would struggle to get Kimi back on board. So they have gone for the rather innocent and naive appearing Perez..who will be treated like a little boy and will do what he is told…together with the goodie-two-shoes Button.

    Hamilton was the only exciting part of the McLaren package…and he will still cause excitement at Mercedes next year.

    I do not understand the constant worries over Mercedes. They have brought on too much talent and have too many resources for them not to succeed. Ross Brawn is not a fool and will get the team to where it should be. Mercedes needed Hamilton to give the team a shot in the arm. They will undoubtedly be the most improved team of 2013. Just hope that they change their livery…that Petronas teal colour doesn’t go with silver.

    Any ideas on helmet design for Hamilton and Rosberg next year? Surely they cannot both drive with yellow helmets in the same cars.

    1. devilsadvocate says:

      Maybe along with growing up and leaving the nest it’s also time for him to stop pretending to be Ayrton as well? I thinks that reasonable given that there are two drivers at least who are already way closer to equalling those goals, one of whom will actually do so this year.

      1. Colombia Concalvez says:

        @ devilsadvocate. So how does Hamilton pretend to be Senna besides the yellow helmet ?. ”there are two drivers at least who are already way closer to equalling those goals” – you mean Alonso and Vettel, Vettel who could not even qualify in Q3 in China this year but now that the car is good he is suddenly in the front ?, all Vettels WDC are simply due the car and not his own ability and Alonso only became champion in 2005 because Kimi had reliability problems and in 2006 after Schumacher engine blew up, nothing impressive really. And you act like you have something against Lewis, [mod]

        [Don't insult other readers - Mod]

      2. 6 Wheeled Tyrrell says:

        And Hamilton only became champion when Sutil’s tires when off at the last lap.

        Give credit where credit is due, all three of the drivers you mention are worthy champions and all have earned their crowns on merit, yes, different teams different resources and different talents, but that is F1 and having the best equipment and capitalizing when your competitors don’t score point is all part of the sport.

      3. Colombia Concalvez says:

        ”And Hamilton only became champion when Sutil’s tires when off at the last lap.” – I think you mean Glock and as far back as 2008. FIA gave Lewis Hamilton’s victory to Massa in Spa and Massa rammed Lewis of the track in Japan, have you even seen the race yourself or are you just copying other people ?

    2. Ross Dixon says:

      Great post. 100% agree with it all

    3. AuraF1 says:

      Not convinced that button deserves all the hate he gets really. He may not be a fast qualifier but then to a large extent neither is alonso. The one lap wonders are Vettel and Hamilton.

      In terms of racing ability, I think button is very much under appreciated. I think if he gets a car built to his unusual style he’ll do a lot better. Regardless of what the haters keep churning out button is a WDC and only the fanboys dismiss these facts.

      1. For sure says:

        I am sorry but only fan[**mod] consider him a true champion. It’s the double defuser that did it.
        A real champion should be at least a guy who can be considered as second to none. Button is second to top three and I am being generous.
        No we don’t hate Button, he is very good. But he is just not one of the best.

        [**Banned word - don't use it again here, thanks - Mod]

    4. Finch says:

      If Button’s ultimate level of speed wasn’t “exposed” by Hamilton, why will it be exposed now that Hamilton is gone?

      1. Brendan says:

        Are you kidding? Button’s ‘level of speed’ has been well and truly found wanting against Hamilton (this year especially). His racecraft and canniness, however, has kept him closer to Hamilton than his natural talent deserves (which although I’m not a JB fan, has to be commended).

        Without Hamilton he won’t have one of F1′s quickest drivers as a yardstick. He won’t have telemetry traces to show exactly where he is losing time and what the car is truly capable of and he won’t have the motivation to push his performance above and beyond his capabilities.

        Having Perez as a team-mate will be great for Button in a ‘lapdog’ sort of way (if McLaren allow their principles to be breached) but as a measure of ultimate performance? No.

        I expect very few front-row grid slots for McLaren next year and far few championship points.

      2. AuraF1 says:

        So last year Hamilton was found wanting? And if you compliment buttons racecraft and canniness but say that belies his lack of natural talent you know nothing about racing. Racecraft and cunning ARE a natural talent – raw speed is only one ingredient in a racing driver.

        Some people should really think about the logic of what they’re saying first…

      3. Gunner says:

        Perhaps I didn’t make my point very clear. I highlighted Button’s ‘level of speed’ as being not as good as Hamilton’s. It’s very difficult to argue against that, is it not?

        I was commenting on the difference in ability when it comes to the pure mechanics of driving an F1 car, the actual seat of the pants feel, the ability to wring the best out of whatever package is underneath you. Racecraft and canniness can be learnt and developed over time as a driver becomes older and wiser and draws on the experiences of past races.

        Finding missing tenths that were never there in the first place is far harder.

    5. Dan says:

      I hope you right.

      I can’t see Lewis changing from Yellow, he idolises Senna.

    6. JustGuessing says:

      Great post.

      Hamilton should already be a double world champion. The reason he is’t is down to the team performance. Loyalty has run it’s course and it is time to go regardless of whatever lies in the future.

      Hopefully it’ll work out well at Mercedes.

    7. Shaq says:

      Excellent post! +1

    8. Vinola says:

      Well put.

    9. hero_was_senna says:

      They have brought on too much talent and have too many resources for them not to succeed.

      Ever heard, too many chiefs, not enough indians?

      It’s all well and good having Bob Bell, Geoff Willis and Aldo Costa as technical directors, but these guys aren’t in just to be engineers, they also have huge ego’s and are driven individuals too.

      Early on in 2010, apparently the combination of Brawn and Schumacher was going to turn the team around, a 3 year project no less. Doesn’t get mentioned anymore does it?

  9. Tim says:

    I can’t see Mercedes GP doing much worse next year. As the man in charge, Brawn’s gotta take the hit for the lack of progress. 3 yrs & 1 GP victory? Gotta do better than that. Too many Chiefs…Any improvement can be seen as Hamilton’s influence (and it may very well be) and to Hamilton’s credit. Be great for the sport to have more competition at the sharp end.

    Tim

  10. surya kumar says:

    Hi James, that was a good insight albeit very little on the move of Hamilton. Love him or Hate him any news on Hamilton always draws in a lot of comments (Mostly negative), but in COTA, Hamilton has once again proved that he is a worthy championship contender who doesnt bemoan when overtaking a risky guy (Aka Vettel). This also shows how Hamilton has matured better and is looking to be one of the best in the Modern F1.

  11. Masood says:

    Where is Lewis Going? To Ross Brawn (7 drivers and 8 constructors I guess), Aldo Costa who was there at Ferrari thru their glory years with Schumi; Geoff Willis who set the aerodynamics at Red bull racing; Mark Elliot who is rated very highly as an aerodynamicist, Bob Bell who have let the team when Fernando Alonso won the championships. They have the right people who know what it takes to win Championships plus MERCEDES backing. Hence its only a matter of time when most of critics are proved wrong. I am sure Lewis will be fighting for WC in 2014.

    1. mark says:

      Thats all well and good but non eof these guys have delivered anything of any not in the current team….

      You can GAURANTEE Schumacher didn’t show up at Mercedes on a wing and a prayer. He would have been made all the promises and had the same expectations of improvement that Hamilton is being offered now….

      I hope for Lewis and the teams sake that 2013 is a more competitive year for them but just can’t see it happening…..hopefully i’m wrong.

      Also, I would have liked to see Mclaren sign Massa to drive with Button. I think they could have made a great pair with (maybe?) a similar driving style….

      I believe Massa with a team fully behind him for a complete year or two could be a surprise…

    2. hero_was_senna says:

      1) Brawn has been the architect of 8 WDC not 7. Schumi won in 1994 and 1995, 2000-2004, all under his leadership. The significant point was, all those cars were designed by a team led by Rory Byrne.
      Brawn also won both obviously in 2009.

      2)Costa was there in the glory years, working under Byrne, but since he took over as tech director at Ferrari, they slowly moved backwards. Ferrari currently is being restructured by Fry, as their systems have become out of date. I wouldn’t hold too much hope on Costa’s input.

  12. Wade Parmino says:

    Next year will probably be another poor to average year for Merecedes. Hamilton will have to endure this. 2014 should see Mercedes as a frontrunner with the new regulations (the big teams should be pretty much level). Hamilton can use the first year to settle in with the team, then get back in the fight in 2014.

    Does James or anyone else know the answers to these two questions.
    Where are McLaren’s engines going to come from in 2014?
    Have they at any time ever used Renault?

    1. iceman says:

      They’re with Mercedes until 2015. I believe they start paying for engines as a customer team from next year.

    2. Blade Runner says:

      This is not aimed at you in particular Wade, its just I hear the same thing said all the time and I really dont see how it can be true.

      The thing I am talking about is the assumption that the Mercedes 2014 car will be something spectacular. Why?

      Yes, there are new engine regs and lots more but most people seem to think that because Mercedes are an engine manufacturer the engines in their own teams cars will somehow be better/ make the difference to their overall competitiveness.

      I really dont see how, they will still be selling their engines to other teams and do we really think that in some way the customer engines will be any different/ worse than the ones they use themselves?

      I again, cant see that happening, not least for the way that modern engines are built, its not like in the old days when you might get lucky and have one engine, that due to machining tolerances being less accurate, produced more power than an other engine.

      No, Mercedes may well be good in the future 2013 or later years because they have either thought of a different way of getting around the rules that give them an aerodynamic advantage, like the Brawn Double Diffuser or they find some more down-force.

      The common belief that the engine will make all the difference is just wrong.

      1. dxs says:

        the way engines are regulated at the moment (engine freeze rules) means that each engine is fairly similar.

        When you have a totally new engine design coming in 2014, there will be large differences in performance between the manufacturers, and over time performance will become similar as designs and the regulations homogenise the performance.

        as merc is an engine manufacturer, they would naturally know the new engine better than anyone they are providing it to, and therefore design the car to both optimise utilisation and negate any negatives.

      2. Brendan says:

        Excellent post.

        If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that the engine plays a much smaller part than aerodynamics.

    3. Andrew M says:

      I’m 99% sure they’ve never used Renault engines. They’ve used Ford, Porsche, Honda, Peugeot, Mercedes and even Alfa Romeo, but never Renault.

    4. Timmay says:

      Oh they wanted to but no they have never had Renault power.

    5. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

      People forget that the Mercedes engines are still the best ones in the field.Albeit the field has leveled out more recently due to “reliability changes”.

      The problem is that aero trumps engines these days.

      There is no need for McLaren to change from Mercedes other than for financial reasons.

  13. BillC says:

    I still think this a win-win situation. Lewis needs a different environment and whilst 2013 will be tough, 2014 could be totally different, and I think Ross will do him good.

    As for Jenson, having Maccers undivided attention should produce a car that suits his style, rather than the compromise of designing for 2 very different WCs

    MGB

  14. aveli says:

    I think Hamilton has made the right decision after all at Mclaren i can imagine him not having much freedom to do what he wants to do. It is his life and he has the right to decide what he does with it. Why should he be happy with others deciding for him what to do with his life and so many people telling him what to do when they cannot do what he does?
    He will be his own man soon after Brazil and there will be no stopping him. Schumacher has failed to do what many has claimed he is capable of doing, leaving hamilton the perfect opportunity fo him to demonstrate why he is the best F1 driver ever to have stepped foot in the sport.

  15. zombie says:

    Just to put things into perspective, Mecedes previous avatar as Honda also sucked in 2007 and 2008 until they came up with a brilliant car in 2009 ( agreed, mostly due to the double diffuser, but they were still a good 1.5 secs faster than rest at the start of the season ). So Mercedes may well be up there with the top 3 next year when LH starts driving for them.

    1. iceman says:

      I think attributing Brawn’s 2009 success to the double diffuser is an oversimplification. A billion Honda dollars and 3 wind tunnels running 24/7 for a year made it an exceptional car in many more ways than just having a trick diffuser (which 2 other teams also started the season with, and everyone else developed during the season).

      Mercedes are not spending that kind of money.

      1. Wade Parmino says:

        I wonder though, if Brawn F1 had used Honda engines, would they have been as successful? I can’t remember if the Honda engines were comparable to the Mercedes.

      2. iceman says:

        I think the Mercedes had established itself as the best engine at that point, though Honda were strong at the end of the V10 era.

        But you never know, the Brawn might have been even more dominant if they hadn’t had to cut-and-shut a Mercedes engine in there instead of the Honda engine the car was designed for.

  16. Rich B. says:

    plenty of other drivers have come through without having tantrums, we’re all different i guess.

    i think his move is a big mistake but remember honda had a terrible year before they won as brawn.

  17. T says:

    As a racing fan, I think it would be epic if Hamilton was in the mix in most races. McLaren, Mercedes, Lotus, Red Bull, and Ferrari all fighting for it would be great for F1.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      It would be good to see Williams there as well!

    2. nick says:

      Unfortunately I think that’s pretty unlikely, not because of any particular problem with Mercedes. It’s just that in my experience of F1 it’s very unusual to have more than a couple of teams in serious contention. This year’s been a bit of an exception. In fact if you think back over the last two or three decades, it’s very common to have just one clearly dominant team each year. Having 5 or 6 at a similar level with nobody clearly out in front would be very unusual.

  18. Richard says:

    One needs changes in ones life from time to time, and I perfectly understand Lewis going to Mercedes. This year McLaren have dropped the ball in preventable ways such that it has destroyed Lewis’s campaign, and if you do the sums properly he could have been leading the championship. With little change to the cars I’m expecting him to be very strong in Brazil too. – Providing the car does not give up. I just can’t see Mercedes being happy as things are, and I expect they’ve stopped work on this years car some time ago to concentrate on next years. As Ross Brawn said now they’ve signed Lewis the pressure is really on and I hope they can do it, otherwise they may lose him quicker than they expect.

  19. Colin Watt says:

    Why is it assumed that come 2014 / new regulations that Mercedes will come good? I am sure that they will improve but they have had 3 years on their own since 2009 trying to get a car to work to the current regulations and have failed spectacularly.

  20. stickymart says:

    If Hamilton is prepared to endure a potentially average season for a potentially great season the year after then good on him I say. Too many detractors are slating him for leaving for monetary gain but this weekend has proven the fact that he is, at heart, a racing driver whose desire to win outweighs everything else. He could be sitting back on his laurels and counting down until Mercedes pay day but he’s not, he’s still battling for every available championship point.

    On another note, Many of the other great drivers have switched manufacturers and it has only done them good (except maybe Senna, but his move to Williams was crocked by rule changes more than anything) so surely only time will tell? If Merc don’t have a championship-competitive car in 2014 then people can view the move as a mistake, but until then, wait and see I say.

  21. vracer says:

    Has everyone forgotten how Ross Brawn won his last championship? Why do you think Merc. has done zip for the last half season? Again, he is sacrificing this year’s development for next year.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      Using the 2nd half of the season as an extended and expensive testing session! Interesting. Hope it works. :)

      If Mercedes are really competetive next year, that will be great. I will be very sad for Schumacher though.

  22. I really, really hope that Mercedes current “form” is due to concentrating on next years car. Something that Ferrari and Red Bull will not be doing due to the present battle they are engaged in (like McLaren and Ferrari in 2008).

  23. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    IMO McLaren has already lost 2013, not reliable car, Checo learning, Button not getting fast enough as usual.

    But it could get more engeneers for 2014, another team principal and replace Button for Lewis… (with a special contract). Why not, the son could return before they were thinking! Business are business.

  24. Dale says:

    All those knocking Mercedes are forgetting who’s in charge of the team and hist proven history.
    Mercedes will come good and as we know unlike all bar maybe Alonso he is able to get out of a poor car what others just can’t do.
    As I see it so long as whatever flaw the 2013 Mercedes F1 may have so long as it’s not excessive tyre wear Hamilton will be fighting towards the front as he’s always done since entering F1.
    Hamilton, for me and I’d suggest most real F1 fans the current fastest driver in F1 and for me the 3 top drivers are simply ahead of the rest (big mistake McLaren, a top team like yours deserves at one of the top drivers).

  25. Richardc says:

    I just don,t get it?? Surely everyone can see that LH is no fool when it comes to racing cars. I actually think the timing is perfect. Mercedes have let this season go now and are concentrating on next year. Mercedes are a major force in F1 and with heritage to boot. They will not fail and have put all the infrastructure in place to design and build a classic car! McLaren have been successful I agree but with the budget and time in the sport one could argue their success has Not been fantastic. LH deserves all the support of the British fans!

  26. Il leone says:

    I think Mercedes is going to surprise a lot of people next year and I would put £10 on them challenging for the title in 2014. Good on Lewis for seeking out a new challenge and flying the nest.

  27. Jo Torrent says:

    I don’t understand the book’s title “the year of living dangerously” ? Would you give a hint of why you chose that title.

    Thanks

  28. Malcolm says:

    Pit stop and mechanical failures, plus the loss of 2 races while comfortably leading, probably cost as you say
    ..the possibilty of his 2nd WDC.

    There is no question that Mclaren will miss Hamilton next year!

  29. Richard D says:

    Based upon the Mercedes performance over the last three years, it would appear that Hamilton has made a wrong move. However, look at the surprise that Ross Brawn delivered for 2009 with which Button took the championship. However, that was to result of mega bucks investment by Honda before they pulled out.

  30. Andrew M says:

    I genuinely hope this post is slathered in irony.

  31. James Berti says:

    I guarantee as soon as there was a sniff the Merc boys would get a shot to lockdown Lewis, the 2012 car went flying out of the wind tunnel and they dedicated ALL their resources to next years car. It explains the horrible run of scoreless races, and its the logical decision if they want to be at all competitive next year.

    Frustrating for Nico and Michael no doubt.

    1. TheBestPoint? says:

      Love the imagery

      So true too

  32. DANNY says:

    Mercedes looks horrible move at the moment. If they can figure out what is going wrong, they should be able to bounce back. All they have to do is provide a race winning or podium worthy car. McLaren hasn’t done much better.

    1. Craig in Singapore says:

      They’ve already figured out what’s going wrong, and it’s basically un-fixable, which is why they’ve given up on this year’s car and are developing an entirely new one for next year. I, for one, will not be surprised if they are challenging for wins in 2013.

  33. ArJay says:

    Hamilton can’t lose -
    If 2013 goes badly it’ll be down to the car…
    And if it goes well the he’ll assume credit for turning the team’s fortunes around…

    1. Craig in Singapore says:

      Maybe so, but anyone who knows anything about F1 will know that he will have very little influence on the 2013 car. But there are plenty more people who know a lot less about F1 who will probably believe it. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nico will compare to Lewis.

      1. ArJay says:

        Agreed.
        I have not seen one article highlighting Hamilton’s ‘development expertise’.

        However, the point I’m making is that in this business any credit due will fall on those with the highest profiles whether they deserve it or not. If Mercedes does turn things around Hamilton’s publicity team will shift into overdrive. There are literally thousands of technically competent support staff in the F1 arena whose names will never feature.

  34. Steven says:

    I think its the right move, it seems to me like McLaren is ran as dictatorship. Drivers dont really have any say , plus it also seems like the “team” is not interested in winning, they seem more interested in being there or thereabouts in order to promote the brand.

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      McLaren is very much interested in winning, but not for the right reasons. McLaren (Ron Dennis F1) want to win because winning = $$$$$. In my opinion, the pure love of the sport of racing cars has long since died at McLaren.

  35. Dan says:

    Ha ha yeah, because they’d of won so many races without him….

  36. Will says:

    I want Hamilton to do well at Mercedes but I do wonder whether he has the temperament if the car is still (at least) fifth fastest on the grid next year. I like him and think he’s a great driver but he’s not the most stable character and I don’t think he’s the sort of person who will ever cope very well watching other people win.

    Perhaps he really is thinking more about the long-term – it will certainly be interesting to see how he conducts himself next year.

    1. Steven says:

      Remember 2009? The car was a donkey!! Yet he pushed the team to improve it, he stuck by them, and by mid season he was winning races again. IMO he DOES have the temperament, and Ill go as far as to say that he has the ability to build a team around him and push the engineers to make the car better.

      IMO McLaren “lost” Lewis when they switched HIS race engineer to Jenson

    2. Cool Hand Luke's Brother says:

      I agree that Lewis does not seem like the most stable person, this year we have seen a much more chilled type of guy but last year was not very nice to watch. Especially since his move to Mercedes was confirmed he has come across very relaxed, very chilled, is that a coincidence or proof that now the pressure is off, he can relax and if anything actually drive better?

      Could the move to Mercedes be in his mind a ticket to an easy life, no expectations of winning, never mind WDCs?

      But……

      That may be the motivation but the reality may be domination, given a half decent car and driving as relaxed as he has over the last couple of months………..

      1. Will says:

        In answer to both replies, I think Hamilton is very aware of his ‘place in F1 history’ and I certainly don’t think he will be happy to struggle round in the midfield. He has now had to watch a number of his peers win championships since 2008 and I don’t believe he is happy about that either, particularly when it’s been Vettel winning.

        As a result, I’m not convinced he will have the same level of patience that he did back in 2009 when the Mclaren was uncompetitive for the first half of the season. He was world champion that season too, so you could argue there wasn’t the history of frustration that there has been for him since then.

        Anyway, it’s all conjecture at this point. As I say, I hope the move works out for him, partly because I can’t bear the media scrutiny and analysis of his moody behaviour when his car isn’t fast enough!

    3. F1adrenalinerush says:

      Perhaps a tough year is exactly what Hamilton needs. More focus will be required on decisions when to fight or not, leading to more consistent points finishes. His ill advised decision to try to hold off Maldonado in a faster car on fresher tires resulted in his retirement. 19 races this year so get points every race keeps one in the hunt. Think Raikkonen this year. The quicker he learns this the quicker he will earn another WDC.

  37. Miha Bevc says:

    Ouuch! This one hurts. I’m not so sure they will be much better team. Maybe team in the garage will be better, if they cut all the mistakes and the reliability problems. But driver pairing will certainly be worse. Imagine, they went from Alonso-Hamilton to Button-Perez in 5 years!

    1. James Allen says:

      Apologies for the comment posted earlier here by kp. It slipped through moderation which was not acceptable.

      Comments to this site have increased dramatically, and it’s sometimes hard to get through them all as thoroughly as we should at peak times when we get many hundreds at a time.

      We will be cracking down on the general standards of comments from now on to keep debate of a high standard. Sorry if this slows things down and means that a comment is modded out, but it’s time to get a grip here. (JA)

      1. Tim says:

        I figured it was because you were swamped. It’s a difficult job to seek out interviews/information & write articles, then sift thru so many comments. I’ve wondered more than once, “when the heck does James ever sleep”? Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

        Regards,
        Tim

      2. James Allen says:

        I have plenty of help, especially on moderation but there are so many comments – 1,200 in 48hrs since Sunday night race report was posted!!

      3. Offdutyrockstar says:

        Thanks James and please consider it a compliment that a site of this calibre should be held to a higher standard than most.

      4. stickymart says:

        I didn’t want to make you feel like I was having a go at the moderators, i just wasn’t sure if anyone had spotted it. Glad the comment has gone now though. No place for comments like that. Keep up the good work James.

      5. Nil says:

        Do you have something in the works where the readers can mod posts up or down and flag comments as spam, troll or flamebait? With the volume of comments going up this is just gonna get harder.

      6. James Allen says:

        No, we will continue to manage everything ourselves to maintain standards

      7. Ross says:

        Your efforts are much appreciated James.

        I have a blog that gets a mere fraction of yours and I have to wade through about 100 spam comments a day. It feels such a waste of time.

  38. Rob Newman says:

    I need to understand what Hamilton’s ambitions are. It is well recorded how Schumi with Todt and Brawn turned Ferrari around and made it a multiple championship winning team which was a mess when they joined.

    Hamilton says he wants to turn the team around. Is that his real goal or he is leaving because he has created a difficult situation for him at McLaren?

    Villeneuve had same ambitions when he joined BAR Honda (or whatever it was called at that time). Rubens and Button didn’t do it. Button won because not because he developed the car but they had some gadget which helped him win. When Alonso joined Ferrari, it was a championship winning car; Kimi won and then Massa won (for a few seconds). The car is not bad but he hasn’t turned the team around.

    After joining Torro Rosso and Red Bull, Vettel helped develop the car and brought the first win and first championship.

    Only time can tell what Hamilton can do.

    1. Craig in Singapore says:

      From what I’ve heard according to Adrian Newey Webber provides most of the input to the development of the Red Bull.

  39. Mitchel says:

    I’ll only be worried for Lewis if he announcea that Craig Pollock is his new manager and Mercedes announce plans for separate liveries on the cars….

  40. OJ says:

    What? lol everybody knows Button is better than Hamilon and I for one am looking forward to LH’s decline towards medicority next year. Alonso, Button and Vettel will be duking it out next year, forget the overrated Hamilton

  41. Adrian Newey Jnr says:

    James – to what extent has McLaren management / resources been “distracted” by their road car program or the recent announcement that they will be providing technical assistance to Formula E? Are key resources/staff being taken off the F1 project as a result?

  42. Jason C says:

    I love the cover design, James.

    Hamilton’s move to Merc will only be properly judged in retrospect. From here, it looks a mad choice driven by emotion and a huge cheque rather than a need to win (yes, a ‘need’). And that’s a shame, but of course, we’ll all see in the next few seasons whether he made the right choice or not.

    Let’s try and be a little humane about it though, shall we? Perhaps after so many years he finds being at McLaren smothering, asphyxiating – or just boring. Regardless of whether the Merc wins races or not, who’s to say he won’t enjoy it more?

  43. goferet says:

    Ironically, since Hamilton’s move 2013 to the team was announced, Mercedes has failed to score a single point in five races.
    ———————————————–

    You can’t get a more perfect Hollywood script than this.

    Before Lewis joins the team, the team is no where and as soon as he steps in, the points & adulation start flooding in.

    This is just perfect me thinks.

    Glad to see Hammy Junior & Senior back on the straight and narrow for Lewis’ relationships back home mean he will have less distractions on track and we will have more performances like this weekend & Abu-Dhabi & Singapore etc.

    Regards Jenson saying Lewis is making a wrong move by joining Mercedes, I think he’s thinking about himself here for with Lewis gone, he would no longer have a bench mark with which to gauge himself.

    But one thing I take comfort from Jenson’s words is he has been wrong about a lot of things this year so maybe this will be one more of those things.

    Me on the other hand, I believe every single word said by Lewis’ dad (plus Eddie Jordan).

    Lewis’ dad believed he would be champion one day and so it was.

    Then last year he said, look out for the new Lewis in 2012 and here we are.

    And recently he said, Lewis will win it Mercedes (incidentally the analytical Eddie Jordan believes this too)

    So yeah, Mercedes joining the sport is just about the best thing that could have happened to Lewis’ career i.e. No British driver has won more than 1 WDC title with the British teams Mclaren or Williams.

  44. goferet says:

    @ Rob Newman

    I need to understand what Hamilton’s
    ambitions are.
    ———————————————–

    Well, after the announcement was made, Lewis said he hopes one day his name with be mentioned in the same breath as Schumi i.e. Drivers who went to struggling teams and helped turn them around.

    So I would say, Lewis ambition with the Mercedes move is to go down as a legend for this challenge (when it works out), has lots of benefits & perks ~ reputation wise that is.

    Also, Lewis must have been disheartened by the operational & mechanical failures at Mclaren (remember the long deliberation at the Thai swimming pool) and decided to take a chance with a proven winner in Ross Brawn.

  45. goferet says:

    Some good omens for Lewis at Mercedes.

    The, last driver to scoop up Schumi’s seat (Kimi) went on to win the title the following year

    In 2013, Lewis will be 28, the same same Aryton won his first title plus Lewis always does the business in his first or second seasons e.g. The GP2 title and the F1 title respectively.

  46. Vinola says:

    As a minority, I find Whitmarsh’s constant reference to Perez’s “intelligence” rather condescending. Or perhaps a dig at Lewis?. Now Button has picked up that theme which I find rather amusing. I mean, really?. Maybe JB ought to take up a lectureship somewhere rather than drive a race car round a track.

  47. Elie says:

    Once that DDRS system on the Mercedes is gone I think half their problems will disappear. The other half are very minor tweaks to their suspension and small adjustments to the aero which I think Lewis can have some input to.

    Mercedes may not be challenging RBR or Mclaren regularly but they will be much stronger than this year (that wont be hard). Also they will be better placed come 2014.

    On the other hand Mclaren build the best cars year in year out and give their titles away by almost tripping over one another both in management and in the garage !. Regardless Hamiltons decision is the best one he has made in a long time, because its an opportunity for him to take a leading role rather than being a passenger in the politics and strict sponsor engagements of Mclaren.

    1. Jake says:

      The merc is a lemon! crush it.

  48. Jake says:

    James,

    There has been a lot said regarding Hamilton’s ability, or lack off, to help develop the Mercedes.
    There is obviously a great deal of misunderstanding on what a top driver like Hamilton can actually contribute to the car development under the current regime of limited testing and financial constraints.
    Perhaps you can do a piece and enlighten us. It does not necessarily have to be Hamilton centric.
    Thanks.

  49. For sure says:

    Come on Jenson, if you are not using every tool available (including politics), to become the lead driver, you are not doing your job which you already know. It’s not that anything wrong with it, just saying.

  50. ACx says:

    Getting a bit bored of this criticism of Lewis moving to Merc. Im very disappointed with my favourite driver for continually banging on about it. JB, please lay off.

    Its simple, he is no longer fully comfortable at McLaren and had to move. He spent all his racing life there and they are more like family than possibly any other driver/team in history. We all know that there comes a point where we as normal people have to leave our homes, or we become frankly weirdos. Lewis either knows that or feels that. Either way he has made a mature, bold decision. Damn well respect that. No, its not for F1 or winning reasons, but for his own good as a young man. A move like this must be really scary, and its a bold move. He must know his chances of success are less, but still he has moved.

    While Im at it, I find McLaren’s reaction to this to be very very immature. All these digs and overt bigging up of Perez is so childish, and frankly they are acting like teenage jilted lovers. Whitmarsh needs to grow up and accept and respect Lewis for the man he is.

    In fact, perhaps its that petty childishness that Lewis needs to escape from. Heh, only just thought that. Yeah, maybe that is the reason. If this is how McLaren behave in public, then who knows how petty they are in private?

    1. Mary says:

      I am suprised none of the F1 media picked on the “re-structuring” of the race engineers at Mclaren when JB joined as the tipping pint for lewis, and as a previous poster said, i truly believe that was when Mclaren lost Lewis. I have never seen that happen in any other team, Massa’s race engineer didn’t change when Alonso joined, neither did Nico’s engineer change when MS joined. So i don’t understand why Martin Whitmash felt the need to bend all the way backwards just to make JB feel comfortable.

      He had worked with Phill Prew for 3 years and suddenly a new boy joins the team and it all changes.

      I for one wish him well at Mercedes and i look forward to supporting him regardless of where he drives

      1. Barbara Suarez says:

        Get your facts right guy’s, Phil Prew was not ‘taken away’ from Lewis and given to Jenson, Prew was promoted to oversee both sides of the garage, Jenson’s first race engineer was Jacob Andreasson and is now Dave Robson, Phil Prew has NEVER been his race engineer.

      2. TheBestPoint? says:

        Facts?
        1. Prew was Lewis Engineer
        2. Jakob was Lewis Assitant Engineer
        3. Both were taken away-ostensibly Prew promoted to oversee both sides of garage and Jakob his Ass.Engineer promoted to Race Engineer. However, Jakob was then TAKEN from Lewis and handed to Button. IMHO this was INEXCUSABLE!!!Especially as the Engineer Lewis ended up with seemed to take a while to grow into the role and I was never convinced he ever did.

  51. cometeF1 says:

    Many good and well thought comments here. My own bit is, nobody can state with certainty where Mercedes will be in terms of their competition in 2013 or 2014.It would appear that they have hired a group of people that is capable of producing a winning car. I would assume that they have a great enough budget to back the brains up, so there is nothing wanting for them to achieve their goals.
    All that being said, I can’t see them being at the sharp end next year. If as believed, the rules remain mostly the same, starting an all new car concept will put them behind the teams that “only” have to refine an already good car. Sure, they could come up with a silver bullet but again, the rules are such that it is difficult to imagine them being able to do so.
    2014 is another story altogether as everyone involve will start from an almost blank sheet of paper. I don’t buy the Mercedes will have the best engine bit though. Both Ferrari & Renault engines have won more races over time than the Merc. Pity Ford are not in it anymore, as the most successful engine maker if I am not wrong. Even if they do produce the best engine, it is not like it is, WCC in the pocket. Engines are less of a factor that they may have been in earlier years. While the Renault engine is not seen as the best nor second best, it has power the Team that is the WCC for the past three years. Hasn’t it?
    If LH felt that the right thing for him to do, was to move out of McLaren so be it. I am not convince that merc was is preferred choice, but where else would he have find a drive with at least the possibility of getting into a team with potential and the means to pay the level of salary he expects? RB and Ferrari were not available for whatever reasons, Lotus probably could not afford him, and the rest just don’t seem possible candidates to produce a consistent winning car.
    For me, he did not make the wisest choice in terms of where the best car lays, McLaren being a much safer bet. He must have been truly unhappy with his situation there to even consider the move. Lets hope for him that he actually pick the right place to be, it won’t be long before we all find out. Marc

  52. JB says:

    I’m surprise how adamant Button is about Lewis’ move to Mercedes. I wonder why?

    Never a Hamilton fan but…

    I’m actually quite positive about Lewis in Mercedes and I can’t wait to see the real Lewis in full flight.

  53. Nick says:

    Interesting comments from Hamilton Snr.

    To what extent do you think Hamilton’s recent form is attributable to the (apparent) improvement in his relationship with his father?

    1. James Allen says:

      I think he’s come on a long way in 2012 and this aspect is part of it, of course.

      He’s in a good place, as is his Dad and they confront the Mercedes challenge with enthusiasm and with a clear conscience.

      I have always felt this year that Hamilton was going to leave, whatever McLaren offered him. And having made the decision he’s at peace with it

  54. Matt Devenish says:

    “The unfortunate thing for young racing drivers is that they don’t have the opportunity to go through the tantrum years”…”when you’re a racing driver or a kart racer or a single seater racer you don’t have time to go off the rails”. Anthony Hamilton talking to James on the Podcast.

    I’m surprised more people haven’t commented or picked up on this. I had to watch the Sky coverage at the weekend and Anthony Hamilton came out with an almost identical statement when talking to the presenters after the race. I thought it was an astonishing admission from the father of one of the sports biggest stars.

  55. Robert says:

    I am sticking to my prediction I made on this forum. After Sunday, Lewis will never win another race.

    I have been supporting Lewis since Euro F 3 . Chatted with Dad and Lewis in the F 3 paddock. I even gave Lewis advice not to let Mercedes send him to Tin Tops like Jamie Green !

    This is a Stupid, stupid, stupid decision. Should only have gone to Ferrari or whatever team Adrian Newey is designing for. Even better stay at Woking.

    Disgruntled Lewis fan.

    1. James Allen says:

      Bear in mind that after three years of the contract he will only be 31, same as Alonso is now.

      If he doesn’t win in first two years something will be seriously wrong and he may well have the chance to move.

      I think end of 2014 will see a lot of change in driver market, he will win more races and probably one more title, don’t worry about that

      1. Robert says:

        Very much hope you are right James.

        I hope Lewis wins tomorrow, but it will make me even more annoyed !

    2. Michael says:

      @ Robert On the contrary. I don’t think it’s a stupid move at all. I just think Lewis had to get out of Mclaren. There’s something seriously wrong with that team. All their top drivers leave. They don’t know how to treat people. The reason why LH is leaving will eventually come out and it won’t be pretty. Ask Alonso.

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